.

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Click above for what became the consented plan, plus Transport page.

2015-04-30

The Guardian: "Have we really reached 'peak car'?"


"Vehicle traffic grew at a fearsome rate worldwide for decades … until 2007. Then came the perfect storm of an economic collapse, a digital revolution and major changes to urban lifestyles. But is this just a blip?"

Link to web site

"A funny thing happened on the way to Carmageddon: the predicted traffic failed to show up. As engineers continued to forecast traffic growth in line with historic averages – up, up and yet farther up, to an eventual 'carpocalypse' – actual traffic not only fell short of projections, in many places it just plain fell. A growing number of researchers and commentators are now suggesting that we've reached 'peak car', the point at which traffic growth stops, and potentially even falls on a per capita basis.

"... Most highway agencies appear to be adopting what Goodwin labels the 'interrupted growth' hypothesis: because the downturn in traffic parallels that in the global economy, the bad economy is to blame for the motoring decline. Traffic growth will resume once there’s a global economic recovery, they predict. Backing for this view comes from data from the last two years in the US, where total vehicles miles travelled (VMT) increased as the economy recovered and gasoline prices fell. The VMT grew by 0.4% in 2013, and 1.7% in 2014

"Others – often people who are also advocates for public transit, curbing sprawl and so on – attribute traffic falls to changes in society and consumer preferences, such as the increasing rejection of the car by young people. Supporters of this view see the current situation as peak car, and expect these changes to continue into the future.

"The key point of debate is often less the forecasts than the policy response: how much public or private money to put into roads versus other transport?"

The Guardian: "End of the car age: how cities are outgrowing the automobile"


"Cities around the world are coming to the same conclusion: they’d be better off with far fewer cars. So what’s behind this seismic shift in our urban lifestyles? Stephen Moss goes on an epic (car-free) journey to find out"

Link to web site

"Gilles Vesco calls it the 'new mobility'. It’s a vision of cities in which residents no longer rely on their cars but on public transport, shared cars and bikes and, above all, on real-time data on their smartphones. He anticipates a revolution which will transform not just transport but the cities themselves. 'The goal is to rebalance the public space and create a city for people,' he says. 'There will be less pollution, less noise, less stress; it will be a more walkable city.'

"Vesco, the politician responsible for sustainable transport in Lyon, played a leading role in introducing the city’s Vélo'v bike-sharing scheme a decade ago. It has since been replicated in cities all over the world. Now, though, he is convinced that digital technology has changed the rules of the game, and will make possible the move away from cars that was unimaginable when Vélo'v launched in May 2005. 'Digital information is the fuel of mobility,' he says. 'Some transport sociologists say that information about mobility is 50% of mobility. The car will become an accessory to the smartphone.'

"Vesco is nothing if not an evangelist. 'Sharing is the new paradigm of urban mobility. Tomorrow, you will judge a city according to what it is adding to sharing. The more that we have people sharing transportation modes, public space, information and new services, the more attractive the city will be'."

The Independent: "Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents"


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/over-50000-families-shipped-out-of-london-in-the-past-three-years-due-to-welfare-cuts-and-soaring-rents-10213854.html
Link to web site

"More than 50,000 families have been silently shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years, an investigation by The Independent can reveal.

"Leaked documents obtained by this newspaper expose the true scale of the 'social cleansing' taking place across the capital as a result of welfare cuts and soaring rents. The figures show an unprecedented number of families who cannot afford to find homes in their local area being uprooted from their neighbourhoods and dumped further and further away from the capital, cut off from their relatives and support networks.

"The spike coincides with the Coalition's introduction of the benefit cap and 'bedroom tax', both of which have made it significantly harder for poor people to afford housing in London. In 2010, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, vowed that the controversial welfare reforms would not lead to 'Kosovo-style social cleansing', pledging: 'You are not going to see thousands of families evicted from the place where they have been living'."


2015-04-28

London Review of Books: "In Brent Cross"


Link to web site

"The residents of Brent Cross's Whitefield Estate – owner-occupiers as well as tenants – will all have the right to a new home in the new development, once their existing homes are demolished. The land will be used for the construction of new pedestrian bridges: Hammerson doesn't want the works near the shopping centre and Transport for London and the Highways Agency don’t want them near the North Circular.

"The Brent Cross scheme is an outstanding example of the way our planning system has almost no power to make places better for the people who live in them, but is very useful to developers with deep pockets who can afford to wait until political circumstances are in their favour, and to councils who find their populations inconvenient or unprofitable. Hammerson has wanted to expand Brent Cross since the late 1990s. A proposal to increase the shopping centre by 27,000 square metres was turned down in 2000. The current plan is 15 times bigger.

"... Cricklewood, Brent Cross and West Hendon is one of the opportunity areas identified in 2004. Barnet Council approved an outline planning application from Hammerson, Standard Life and Brookfield Europe (which dropped out soon afterwards) in November 2009 and then spent nearly a year negotiating a Section 106 agreement – which obliges developers in one way or another to make up for the drawbacks and inconvenience of a scheme – worth £998 million, the largest ever agreed in the UK. This is the money that will pay for £200 million of road works.

"The Brent Cross Coalition is a loose network of campaigners, including residents worried about traffic, cyclists and people whose homes will be lost to compulsory purchase, among others. There's little consensus about what the right kind of development would be – though no-one has asked them – but everyone seems to agree that this scheme isn't it."

The Guardian: "Brixton's anti-gentrification protest: identifying the problems is one thing, fixing them is another"


"The Reclaim Brixton demonstration expressed fears that the area's character is being diluted and displaced. But the Foxtons estate agent is unlikely to go away, and the people it sells houses to won't stop coming, argues Dave Hill"

Link to web site

"On paper, stopping gentrification is easy. At last Saturday’s Reclaim Brixton demonstration in south London, a list of solutions was written on three wide lengths of the stuff, taped to a wall in Windrush Square. Most focused on housing and the policies of local, Labour-run Lambeth Council:
"Build more houses for working people"
"Rent caps"
"Lambeth to stop evictions"
"[Lambeth to] Prioritise repair of estates over regeneration"

"Someone expressed the wish for a council scheme to protect small businesses deemed representative of 'the community'. There was also an assertion, echoed throughout the day, that 'Lambeth is not for sale'.

"These missives expressed the views of specific local campaigns, but also illuminated the force fuelling anxieties about gentrification in many parts of the capital – the rising value of property and land, and the rapid social changes this is driving."

2015-04-27

MoneyWeek: "The train crash waiting to happen in new-build property"


Link to web site

"I read a stat in the FT yesterday that absolutely blew my mind.

"There are now 54,000 homes planned or under construction 'in the priciest areas of the capital'. Most will cost 'close to or above the £1m mark' and most are two-bed flats.

"Here's the mind-blowing bit: in the same areas last year, just 3,900 homes were sold for more than £1m. That would put potential supply at almost 14 times annual demand.

"Welcome to the train crash about to happen that is high-end, new-build property in London."

TED: "Paul Tudor Jones II: Why we need to rethink capitalism"



"... Though Nature, therefore, exhorts mankind to acts of beneficence by the pleasing consciousness of deserved reward, she has not thought it necessary to guard and enforce the practice of it by the terrors of merited punishment in case it should be neglected.

"It is the ornament which embellishes, not the foundation which supports the building, and which it was, therefore, sufficient to recommend, but by no means necessary to impose.

"Justice, on the contrary, is the main pillar that upholds the whole edifice.

"If it is removed, the great, the immense fabric of human society, that fabric which to raise and support seems in this world, if I may say so, to have been the peculiar and darling care of Nature, must in a moment crumble into atoms."

from 'The Theory of Moral Sentiments' by Adam Smith (1759).
It provided the ethical, philosophical, psychological, and methodological underpinnings to Smith's later works, including 'The Wealth of Nations' (1776).



"Paul Tudor Jones II loves capitalism. It's a system that has done him very well over the last few decades. Nonetheless, the hedge fund manager and philanthropist is concerned that a laser focus on profits is, as he puts it, 'threatening the very underpinnings of society'.

"In this thoughtful, passionate talk, he outlines his planned counter-offensive, which centers on the concept of 'justness'."

2015-04-26

The Observer: "Tesco’s fall tells a wider story about our failing capitalism"


"The supermarket giant has not been alone is being organised as a profit machine dedicated to shareholders, not customers"

Link to web site

"For the past decade, Tesco, like almost every other British plc, has been organised as a profit machine, a company whose focus transmuted from serving customers and building a company to serving shareholders and driving up directors' pay. The £6.4bn loss is the price tag of the consequent misjudgments, brought together in the oldest trick in the corporate book – a 'kitchen sink' moment in which the incoming, transient management crystallises every loss. This allows the base from which it starts to be so low that there can only be improvement. But the terms are wholly financial and don’t answer the bigger question of what Tesco is for.

"... Tesco is not alone. This is how too much of business works in 2015. The justification of capitalism is not that it enriches the top 0.1% and the wealth trickles down. Its justification is that a plurality of companies experiment in solving human problems and so create worthwhile value, which capitalism can do better than any other system.

"Tesco went wrong because of a very particular British ownership and financial architecture that places no value on this social, human mission but sees its duty as only to maximise the share price for a floating body of shareholders. And now Tesco is trying to reinvent itself in the same hostile system."




Link to
"Tesco: How one supermarket came to dominate"

Transportation Alternatives: "Arterial Reconstruction Campaign"


Link to web site

"Arterial streets were designed as urban highways, with little consideration for the needs of people on foot, bicycle, or accessing public transportation. Now, thousands of miles of these streets serve as urban speedways that are dangerous for everyone, especially those not driving cars.

"For pedestrians, arterials are intimidating and dangerous to cross; as such they often divide communities and act as psychological barriers to accessing local amenities. Arterials are the site of most traffic fatalities, even though arterial streets make up only 15 percent of the road network. Per mile, arterial streets are 8.5 times more deadly for pedestrians than non-arterials.

"In general, New Yorkers who walk or bike are most at risk. Additionally, the burden of traffic violence is disproportionately felt by low-income communities, children, and the elderly. Many of the poorest neighborhoods in the city have higher crash densities than the richest neighborhoods; meanwhile, being struck by an automobile is the leading cause of injury-related death for children in New York City, and the second-leading cause for elders."

2015-04-25

Good News on House Prices: "More than 30pc growth forecast for London homeowners"


Link to Sunday Telegraph

"House prices in London are set to rise more than 30pc over the next five years as a strong economic backdrop and unrelenting desire to live and invest in the UK capital will boost a property market that is currently flagging ahead of the general election.

Just 12 months after homeowners in London saw an annual house price growth rate of 20pc in the year to June, fuelling fears of a property bubble, a new report by the real estate group, CBRE, has forecasted that values in both the luxury and mainstream segments of the market, will soon out pace those across the rest of the UK.

"The high-end housing market in the affluent central London boroughs has stagnated, as both buyers and sellers wait for the outcome of the government race, while the frenetic activity seen in the mainstream market over the last 18 months has also cooled."


"Police use CS spray as anti-gentrification protesters mass in Brixton"

Link to The Observer

"A peaceful protest against gentrification in Brixton, London, has ended in violence. The local town hall was stormed by protesters, the window of an estate agents was smashed, and CS spray gas was used to disperse protesters who had gathered at a Brixton police station.

"More than 1,000 people had taken part in the Reclaim Brixton rally on Saturday and its organisers insisted they did not want trouble. Their aim was to demonstrate the community’s concern about the area’s gentrification, with locals being priced out of the housing market and smaller, individual businesses being driven out by high rents.

"[... A few protesters later] turned their attention to Foxtons estate agents, which has become a focus of local opposition to the area's gentrification and has been targeted for vandalism in the past. One of its windows was smashed and the words 'Yuppies out' were written in spray paint across another window."



Hammerson and Brent Cross: Top-down planning: arrogant, unsustainable, and led by clowns. (Other than that,...)



"Through the developments we have carried out in recent years, we have an excellent reputation with local authorities and city councils. [That's not what Barnet thinks of you, you know.]

"We also enjoy strong relationships with retailers. By aligning ourselves with the public sector, with anchor retailers like John Lewis and with major direct property investors, we have become the 'partner of choice' for the regeneration of many of the UK's towns and cities.

"Our development strategy is focused on the top 30 retail destinations which capture the key regional and sub regional cities, where we believe future comparison retail spend will be concentrated.

"We are seeking to establish dominant positions in our target cities where we can create the prime retail offer, but also control and manage the public realm and the whole customer experience. This is about creating a 'managed estate' environment.

"In addition, through our retail parks team, we are establishing ourselves in the next tier of towns as we begin to bring forward a new generation of hybrid schemes, emphasising 'convenience'.

"We are creating assets which are scarce commodities and sustainable long-term investments with good growth potential."


"Brent Cross is an example of the success of our long-term investment approach to our major retail assets. It is owned jointly with Standard Life.

"We developed Brent Cross in 1976 and, at that time, it was the first of its kind in Europe. Over the last thirty years, it has shown consistently high returns, achieving some of the highest rents in the UK.

"It has a proven reputation as a launch platform for international retailers seeking entry into the UK and Europe. It is anchored by the UK's highest profile retailers with John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Fenwick. Since 2002, we have also enhanced the tenant mix to better reflect the upmarket catchment profile. ..."


"It is positioned at the heart of one of the wealthiest catchments in the UK, with very good accessibility, certainly by London standards.

"The centre takes almost half the comparison spend in its catchment, and dominates the five wealthiest MOSAIC groups.

"The high average spend per visit and the high sales per square foot seen by the retailers support high average rents of £1,020 per m² and leaves room for further growth."


"With its unique market positioning and strategic location, the opportunity to expand and evolve Brent Cross is obvious. ... The centre is positioned at the junction of the M1 motorway and London’s inner orbital route, the North Circular.

"We have progressively acquired the land between the existing centre and the North Circular over the last decade.

"In 2002, we purchased a portfolio of property and development opportunities from the rail infrastructure provider, Railtrack. This opened the door to controlling the redevelopment of over 100 hectares of partially derelict and under-utilised land to the south of the North Circular. The development rights are currently held in partnership with Multiplex.

"Then, in 2004 we purchased the Brent South Retail Park, also in conjunction with Standard Life, which previously sat outside the redevelopment land. This is a key asset in its own right and complementary to Brent Cross.

"Taken in the round, we have both direct ownership and key strategic interests in the whole of the Brent Cross and Cricklewood redevelopment area."


"The masterplan for the whole of the regeneration area envisages the creation of a new town centre, with Brent Cross as its cornerstone.

"Brent Cross itself will double in terms of its overall offer, including a significant new leisure and restaurant quarter and residential apartments.

"Across the whole of the site, there will be some 7,000 residential units developed out over a 15 – 20 year period. This will include major new public spaces and amenities and significant investment in transport and infrastructure.

"Further down the line, the masterplan envisages a commercial phase of some 400,000 m² of offices centred around a new main-line railway station. The masterplan will be delivered in phases, progressively bringing forward infrastructure alongside commercial development.


"As for Brent Cross itself, this is an opportunity to reposition the asset for the next thirty years.

"We plan to add a further 55,000 m² of comparison retail; an external retail and leisure environment, building on the concept which has proven so successful at The Oracle in Reading; optimising accessibility and car parking to achieve a total of 7,600 parking spaces; and around 850 residential units as part of the mixed-use environment.

"All contributing to turning the exisiting [sic] centre 'inside out' and creating a customer 'experience' which is not just about shopping, but also a leisure and lifestyle destination.


"... The Cricklewood proposals to the south of the North Circular are a joint venture with Multiplex. This is a longer term-project and it is envisaged that this will be brought forward in partnership with specialist developers for each phase.

"In taking these proposals forward, significant progress has been made in advancing planning policy support. We are continuing to work through the planning process with the objective of submitting an outline Planning Application for the combined scheme next year, which could enable us to be on site with the early phases from 2010. [Giggle, giggle.]

"The combined scheme represents one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe and offers enormous potential to bring forward phased development in a managed environment, and to underpin the future performance of an outstanding asset."

2015-04-22

The Londonist: "Hendon Is The Perfect Metaphor For The Whole London Election"


Link to web site

"With just over two weeks to go until the general election on 7 May, we’re taking a look at London’s second closest marginal seat in the upcoming political battle. The issues faced by the constituency are representative of some of London’s wider problems — regeneration, loss of social housing, along with outsourcing and cutbacks to the Conservative council’s services.

"Having won Hendon by just 106 votes in 2010, the Conservatives are looking increasingly likely to lose it back to its previous Labour occupant, Andrew Dismore. And if that's not a nice metaphor for the election as a whole, we don’t know what is.

"So who are the candidates for Hendon? The Conservative incumbent Matthew Offord plans to defend his seat from the aforementioned Andrew Dismore, while UKIP candidate, Jeremy Zeid, was replaced in March by Raymond Shamash after Zeid posted on Facebook that Israel should 'kidnap' US President Barack Obama (as you do). The Green Party’s Ben Samuel and Liberal Democrat Alasdair Hill have posted their own short videos, pitching their candidacies to the constituents."

2015-04-21

Barnet Press: "Housing protesters set up camp on council leader's lawn"


Link to web site

"Activists staged a makeshift protest over housing policies – on the leader of Barnet Council's front lawn.

"Protesters turned Richard Cornelius's Totteridge garden into 'temporary accommodation' to highlight what they say is the poor quality housing they have been moved to after being evicted from the Sweets Way estate in Whetstone.

"The estate is owned by Annington Homes, who let the properties out on a temporary basis for families in need before submitting plans to redevelop the site."

20 April, Carey Hall Cricklewood: Labour Party's Brent Cross Sarah Sackman meeting



The Guardian: "Ultra Tory housing policy aims to push poor people out of Barnet"


"Barnet council’s latest wheeze is to raise money from its poorest residents in order to build homes that the poor could not afford to rent, and which it would anyway have to sell off under Tory right-to-buy plans."

Link to web site

"The prosperous London borough of Barnet has won a reputation as a beacon of municipal small-statism in recent years. Policies such as outsourcing almost all council services have illustrated its resolute, if slightly swivel-eyed, dedication to providing a test-bed for a kind of surburban ultra-Toryism.

"Controversy has dogged the project – one of its political architects did not survive the revolution and subsequently denounced it as 'fundamentally un-Conservative' – but that has not dimmed Barnet’s ideological fervour. Indeed, its latest proposals show it to be as uncompromising as ever.

"Barnet's revolutionary vanguard has turned its attention to housing. To address what is from any perspective a spectacular local crisis of explosive demand, soaring rents and unaffordable prices, it has decided to allow thousands more homes to be built. Many councils face this problem, but Barnet's radical draft strategy shows what an extreme Tory approach looks like."

2015-04-18

[Reposted] Brent Cross Election Roundup


Link to Barnet Times

"General Election 2015:
Five reasons Conservative candidate Mike Freer wants your vote in Finchley and Golders Green"
"4. Housing - We need more homes. We have had more than 6,200 new homes built in the borough since 2010, with many more planned. Of these, nearly 1,800 homes were for social rent or shared ownership. I will continue to work with the Government to support the delivery of new homes locally, including the regeneration of Brent Cross/Cricklewood."




Mon 20 April:
Sarah Sackman Brent Cross meeting:





Other political parties are available.

2015-04-16

Jewish News: "Freer: I can represent Finchley and Golders Green Jews more forcefully than Jewish rival"


"It's gloves off in Finchley and Golders Green as shock poll puts Conservative incumbent behind Jewish Labour rival"

Link to web site

"The race to be MP for Finchley and Golders Green moved into top gear this week after the Tory incumbent claimed he’s better placed to represent Jewish constituents – as a new poll gave his Jewish Labour rival a surprise lead, writes Justin Cohen.

"Both Mike Freer, who has represented the constituency since 2010 and Labour’s Sarah Sackman said the Lord Ashcroft poll of 1,001 voters – which put Labour two points ahead – would serve as a reminder of how close the battle is to win the seat with the largest percentage of British Jews."

2015-04-14

Barnet Times: "Campaigners demand to know why cleaners at Brent Cross aren't on London living wage"


Link to web site

"Campaigners were 'disappointed' after the manager of a shopping centre refused to tell them why some of his staff were not receiving the London living wage.

"Members of Noam, the Masorti Jewish Youth Movement, demanded to know why Brent Cross Shopping Centre, in Hendon, has previously advertised jobs for cleaners paying just £6.49p per hour.

"... Ms Sandler, who works for Noam, said:
"... We shop in Brent Cross, we live near Brent Cross, and this Passover we reject the idea that in our lives as consumers we have no responsibility towards the lowest-paid workers in this shopping mall."

BBC: "A history of social housing"


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14380936
Link to web site

"From Lloyd George's promise of "homes fit for heroes" to Margaret Thatcher's dream of a property-owning democracy, housing has been at the centre of British politics for more than a century. Key pledges ahead of the 2015 general election show it's rarely mattered more. Here is why.

"Labour voters lived in council houses. Tories owned their own homes.

"That's the way it had always been.

"Yet for a young Labour MP, out canvassing in his constituency in the early 1980s, it still came as a shock to be told, by an old party stalwart, that there was no point knocking on doors on a private housing estate, as they all voted Tory.

"To Tony Blair, it was a sign of just how out of touch his party had become with ordinary working people."

The Guardian: "Poll puts Labour ahead in Margaret Thatcher's former stronghold"



"The Conservatives regained symbolic, suburban Finchley and Golders Green in 2010, and a Labour victory there would be a huge one"

Link to web site

"A new poll by Lord Ashcroft of marginal parliamentary seats has put Labour ahead of the Conservatives in one of its most challenging and symbolic London targets, suburban Finchley and Golders Green in the north-western Tory-run borough of Barnet, which it lost by some distance in 2010 having held it since its creation in 1997. Ashcroft has Labour two points in front of the Tories in the area Margaret Thatcher represented for 33 years.

"This is the latest poll suggesting Labour is on course to make big gains in the capital. With national surveys stubbornly indicating a neck-and-neck finish between Ed Miliband and David Cameron in the race for Number 10, here in the Big Smoke Labour has been given recent leads of 11 and 14 percent by YouGov and ComRes respectively. Last week, Ashcroft found Labour to be leading in another of its London targets, Harrow East where a 3.5% swing is required to unseat the Tory incumbent Bob Blackman.

"In Finchley and Golders Green, Labour’s Sarah Sackman needs a swing of no less than 6.2% to oust former Barnet council leader Mike Freer. The Ashcroft snapshot gives her 7%. The seat is tenth on Labour’s London hit list. It would be a huge victory."

2015-04-11

The Guardian: "Buy-to-let landlords earn returns of up to 1,400% since 1996"


"Revelation draws criticism from campaigners as report shows young people faced with rocketing house prices are giving up on owning a home"

Link to web site

"Buy-to-let landlords have hit the investment jackpot by earning returns of almost 1,400% since 1996, leaving the performance of shares, bonds and cash trailing in the wake of Britain’s property boom.

"The revelation drew criticism from housing campaigners, coming in the same week that a major report claimed rocketing house prices and years of stagnant wage growth have prompted a growing number of younger people to give up the idea of ever owning their own home.

"On average, £1,000 invested in a buy-to-let asset in the final quarter of 1996 was worth £14,987 by the end of last year, according to analysis by economists at the Wriglesworth Consultancy for lender Landbay, published on Saturday. This was more than four times than the equivalent investment in commercial property, UK government bonds or shares and seven times the return on cash."

2015-04-10

Barnet Times: "Mayor of London Boris Johnson hits the campaign trail with Conservative candidate for Finchley and Golders Green Mike Freer"


http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/12877804.Boris_Johnson_hits_the_campaign_trail_in_Golders_Green/
Link to web site

"Mayor of London Boris Johnson spoke about bus service cuts and the need for more new housing during a visit to Golders Green.

"The Mayor called into shops and cafes along Golders Green Road during a visit to support Finchley and Golders Green Conservative candidate Mike Freer today.

"... Asked if any existing train stations were under threat of closure due to the Brent Cross Cricklewood development - after Chancellor George Osborne announced funding for a new station last month – he said: 'None as far as I know.'

Mike Freer said: 'The last I heard, they want to keep both stations open because they serve different communities. The new station will have a fast link to Farringdon.'

2015-04-08

The Guardian: "Can the world economy survive without fossil fuels?"


"The past three centuries of progress have been powered by coal, oil and gas. Burning much of what’s left will lead to environmental and economic catastrophe. Here’s how to save the earth without giving up on growth"


"Here is a warning:
"For generations, we have assumed that the efforts of mankind would leave the fundamental equilibrium of the world’s systems and atmosphere stable. But it is possible that with all these enormous changes – population, agricultural, use of fossil fuels – concentrated into such a short period of time, we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself."
That was Margaret Thatcher, in a speech to Britain’s scientific elite in 1988. Thatcher was no climate change denier. She told the Royal Society that her government supported the idea of sustainable economic development, and concluded:
"Stable prosperity can be achieved throughout the world, provided the environment is nurtured and safeguarded. Protecting this balance of nature is therefore one of the great challenges of the late 20th century."
"... Slowly, those in power are beginning to understand what is at stake: that if we carry on growing the global economy at its current rate, and continue to rely on fossil fuels to power that growth, the planet is going to cook. Not everybody buys into this narrative, of course. One of the challenges faced by those who wish to curtail fossil fuel use is that there is no political consensus on tackling climate change. The business-as-usual camp says that the scientific consensus is wrong about climate change, or that climate scientists have exaggerated the risks, which can be tackled if and when they become apparent.

"... The risk is now out there – and growing – because policymakers have now woken up to the risks of climate change. Michael Jacobs, who used to advise Gordon Brown on the issue, says:
"There have been two terrible realisations. We have started too late, and it doesn’t matter how much solar and wind power there is – you are still burning all the coal, oil and gas. Even if you do so more slowly, it will still go into the atmosphere and cause climate change."
"Jacobs adds that, in the past quarter of a century, when countries could have been putting in place the infrastructure for a new green economy, they have been going in the opposite direction. They have invested in fossil fuel-burning power plants and built energy‑inefficient buildings in cities designed for cars."

2015-04-02

BBC: "Can the world get richer for ever?"


Link to web site

"Since the dawn of the industrial age, the world has been steadily getting wealthier, despite setbacks such as the Great Depression and the more recent global financial crisis. We make more, sell more and consume more than ever before.

"Yet, according to the United Nations, nearly three billion people still live on less than $2.50 (£1.70) per day.

"So, how can we raise living standards for those who still live in poverty? The answer, according to most governments, is rapid economic growth.

"Growth is seen as a panacea for a great many ills. It creates jobs, erodes debts and raises living standards. For politicians, it also generates votes. It is almost universally seen as a Good Thing."


Barnet Eye: "The future for the [ahem,...] Brent Cross Light Rail Scheme?"


Vroom to the web site

"The Barnet Eye was fascinated to receive a call [not from us!] discussing the potential for a brand new light rail system for the London Borough of Barnet. One of the biggest criticisms of the Brent Cross scheme is the fact that it will bring traffic chaos to the whole of North West London. The scheme envisages 27,000 new jobs at Brent Cross, even without the millions of new customers the scheme would deliver.

"The sad thing about this is that it would be relatively cheap and easy to address these issues, but there is no political will to do so. In the Borough there is a whole stack of abandoned and lightly used rail lines, that could easily be brought into use.

"Our preferred version of this scheme, links Finchley Central to the Midland Mainline at Pentavia retail Park. The line will have a spur north to Mill Hill Broadway and a spur south toward Hendon. This would require reopening the disused line between Mill Hill East and Saracens, then building a new spur to Pentavia Park and over the M1."

2015-04-01

Barnet Times: "Asphalt Appreciation Society launches bid to have North Circular Road granted listed status" (Will London Communications Agency get Hammerson and Argent to climb on board?)


Link to web site

"One of north London's most visited but least appreciated landmarks could benefit from the same degree of protection as Alexandra Palace or Tottenham’s clock tower.

The North London branch of the Asphalt Appreciation Society is calling for the A406 North Circular Road to be granted listed status by Historic England.]

"If the bid is successful, the road, which runs from Chiswick to the Woolwich Ferry, could not be demolished, altered or extended without permission.

"... The scheme could spell trouble for developers hoping to improve Brent Cross shopping centre, with road widening and junction alterations, as well as an ambitious 'living bridge' part of plans."













(cbrd images and links)